Survival through Luxury Production. Belgian Refugees making Lace during WWI

  • Wendy Wiertz (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Handmade lace from Flanders was renowned since the early 16th century. In the early 20th century, the production of this luxury fabric still provided a full-time or seasonal income to thousands of families in predominantly Flanders and in some other parts in Belgium. During the First World War, making lace became a means of survival: lace souvenirs were produced and sold by individual or small groups of makers to British soldiers at the Belgian front line, while the lace scheme of the humanitarian organisation the Commission for Relief in Belgium (C.R.B.) provided an income for ca. 50,000 lace makers in occupied Belgium. Lace was also made by Belgian lace workers who lived as refugees in England, France and Holland. A comparative study on lace making by Belgian refugees in these three countries reveals different strategies towards luxury production by non-citizens during wartime.
Period9 Sep 2019
Event titleTracing the Belgian Refugees
Event typeWorkshop
LocationCardiff, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational